MOWLEM COMPETES IN THIRD JEWEL OF 24-HOUR CROWN SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (July 30, 2006) -- British sports car star Johnny Mowlem completed a rare triple when he competed in the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, following on from his ...
MOWLEM COMPETES IN THIRD JEWEL OF 24-HOUR CROWN
SPA FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (July 30, 2006) -- British sports car star Johnny Mowlem completed a rare triple when he competed in the Proximus 24 Hours of Spa, following on from his drives at the Daytona and Le Mans 24 hour races. Mowlem drove for the Porsche factory backed Ebimotors team of Italy.
Driving a Porsche 996 GT, Mowlem and co-drivers Luigi Moccia and Emanuele Busnelli were running fifth in the GT2 class and 11th overall when a mechanical failure knocked the car out of the race.
"It was looking pretty good for a while there, but then the engine seized." Mowlem said. "I'd been getting low oil pressure alarms throughout my two double stints in the night, but when we got to two hours from the end I was hoping that the engine would hold on, but that wasn't to be!"
The race at Spa Francorchamps was the fourth round of the FIA World Championship for sports cars and is the third jewel in the world's triple crown of 24-hour races. The others are the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Because different sanctioning bodies sanction all three, there are conflicting schedules among the series and it is difficult for any driver to compete in all three races in one season.
"It's reasonably unusual for a sportscar driver to be able to compete in all three races, but even more so to be able to finish all three 24 hour events in the same season," Mowlem said. "I'd managed to get good finishes at Daytona and Le Mans and so I was hoping for the hat-trick, but we still had a good race and ran strongly. The Ebimotors Porsche was very competitive."
Mowlem and his mates started eighth, on the same row as the team's sister car. But a tire failure within ten minutes of the start dropped Mowlem's car back in the field. Hard driving eventually got the car up to fifth in class and 11th overall before the engine trouble struck.
"It was my first Spa 24 hour race, and I have to say that physically at least, it was one of the hardest 24 hour races that I've ever competed in!" commented Mowlem, "There just never seems to be any time to relax and at night there is virtually no track floodlighting so visibility is less than at either Le Mans or Daytona. That can make it kind of tricky when you're racing close with other cars!"
The second Ebimotors entry, this one driven by Emmanuel Collard, Luca Riccitelli and Romain Dumas, crashed hard at the famous Eau Rouge corner and was unable to finish the race.
Mowlem now heads back over the Atlantic Ocean to test the Aston Martin campaigned by the Autosport Design Racing team in the World GT Challenge series. The Aston Martin, which is owned by John Sinders andTom Papadopoulos' Autospor Dsign Racing Team, will compete in the Challenge race at Road America in the middle of August.